Staff Report 188

On Sunk Costs and Trade Liberalization in Applied General Equilibrium

Jean Mercenier
Nicolas Schmitt

Published March 1, 1995

We argue that the rationalization gains often predicted by static applied general equilibrium models with imperfect competition and scale economies are artificially boosted by an unrealistic treatment of fixed costs. We introduce sunk costs into one such model calibrated with real-world data. We show how this changes the oligopoly game in a way significant enough to affect, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the outcome of a trade liberalization exercise.

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